ENA Newsletter – January 2016
Prepared by Karen Hlynsky, Chair, Elmwood Neighborhood Association
2016 was a difficult year for many and rich with political surprises. However, neighbors continued to take steps forward in our small part of the world. We planted dozens of street trees; and Peace and Plenty Park grew a meditative addition. We welcomed the long-awaited new director of One Neighborhood Builders, Michael Devos, and learned of ONB’s aims to develop properties in Elmwood and Elmwood Ave. Staff of Knight Memorial Library began developing a Web site for the greater south side. Friends of Knight Memorial continue to raise thousands of dollars each year by recycling books and to make books available to neighbors through the Neighborhood Book Shelf Program. The Elmwood Ave Business Association began meeting monthly with aims to bring more attention and clientele to the businesses on the street.
Fallout from a divisive election was disturbing with its vocal intolerance of diversity and an increase in hate crimes. Elmwood residents reported that a Black Lives Matter sign was removed from one residence and an American flag was removed and burned in the driveway of another.
Mayor Elorza has responded to threats against immigrants and diversity by declaring Providence a Sanctuary City and opening a hotline for hate crimes. The 1-877-3HCRIME (1-877-342-7463) phone line will allow individuals to report hate crimes citywide and gain access to valuable resources and support networks. This hotline is part of the One Providence initiative aimed at protecting and serving every resident of the city regardless of race, ethnicity, national origin, gender identity, sexual orientation, political affiliation, religion, or disability.
2017 is bound to bring as many challenges and accomplishments. Looking ahead to developing our own neighborhood: January 15 is the next deadline for applying for street trees for April planting. Peace and Plenty Park will host an Earth Day cleanup and maintenance event on April 22. In June the Providence Preservation Society will host its annual tour of historic homes in Elmwood, when hundreds of people will visit historic homes on Whitmarsh, Princeton, and Moore St. EBCA aims to have a map of Elmwood Ave businesses ready in time for the tour and summer visitors to Providence.
Changes to three properties on the Southside are bound to affect our quality of life. It is not yet clear whether the changes will be for the better or worse. On paper proposed changes look good, but Elmwoodians have learned to be wary. During the past several weeks residents attended public and private meetings to become more informed and make our concerns heard. If you have not been part of these discussions and are able to attend meetings below, please do.
1) 1) PEKA Properties, the owners of the vacant lot at 12 Lenox, will go before the City Planning Commission on January 17 to request a change in zoning from residential to commercial. PEKA also own the buildings on Broad that house Aqua Lounge and Monaco Night Club. According to PEKA, leasing the properties to night clubs is troublesome, and they want to bring more retail businesses to the corner of Broad and Lenox, expanding them to 12 Lenox. Elmwoodians will meet with PEKA representatives on January 4 to learn more about their plans. Residents are concerned about commercial creep into residential areas, the traffic congestion already existing at that corner, and the lack of parking.
2) 2) Club Juan Pablo Duarte at 100 Niagara and Congress has already been before the Board of Licenses to request liquor licenses. The Dominican-American club hosts weddings and other events, and wants to raise money for expenses by selling wine and beer. The BOL has asked that the Club present certification of its bartender, present a contract showing it has employed security services, and work with nearby residents to resolve quality of life issues, including noise, litter, parking, public drinking and drunkenness. The next BOL meeting is scheduled for January 5 at 1:00 pm.
3) 3) On December 19 Councilwoman Mary Kay Harris hosted an information session about the Holiday Inn Express to be built at 375 Pine St (on the corner of Pine St and Service Road #7 overlooking I 95). The property is next to Crossroads. The 5-story, 91-room hotel would provide lower cost hotel rooms to people visiting the hospitals and downtown events. Read more about the project in the ProJo article, “Providence OKs plans to build Holiday Inn Express”. And keep your eyes open for additional public meetings about the project.
Critique of Licensing Board
Elmwood residents frequently attend licensing board hearings regarding clubs and bars in the neighborhood, so it pays to understand how the board actually works. Here are three articles to get you started:
- Attorneys Lynch and Pine reviewed the Board of Licenses earlier this year and provided what’s known as The Pine Report (September 9, 2016)
- Johanna Harris, a member of the board of Licenses wrote that the report didn’t go far enough in its critique of the BOL: “Depoliticize the Licensing Board: A Response to the Pine Report” (Sept 19, 2016)
- “Mayor Elorza plans audit, shakeup of Providence liquor board” by Dan McGowan, WPRI.com reporter (December 30, 2016)
AARP continues to support Elmwood projects
The December AARP Bulletin Rhode Island Report, entitled ‘Being Neighborly’, covers initiatives in our community backed by AARP, including contributions to Peace and Plenty Park, Knight Memorial Library, complete streets and community gardening.
For example, Friends of Knight Memorial Library recently planted 200 daffodil and 120 crocus bulbs in the tree rings on the library lawn thanks to a small AARP RI grant. Join the partnership by e-mailing AARP at emailri@AARP.org or going to states.AARP.org/a-tree-grows-in-providence .
During the past year Doug Victor has been assisting AARP in organizing monthly meetings of community leaders in Elmwood, the West End, and South Providence. The meetings offered leaders of local organizations a chance to present their projects and find ways to collaborate. On December 9 AARP RI honored Doug with a Special Recognition Award for his work. Congratulations, Doug!
Peace and Plenty Park news
Visit the park (a trash-strewn vacant lot only 7 years ago) to see it beautifully illuminated at night. The central tree in Peace and Plenty Park is lit with wonderful twinkle lights. The Little Library in the park is now stocked with books for all ages, free for the taking. The park encourages neighbors to exchange books in the kiosk, i.e., give-a-book/take-a-book. The National Fish and Wildlife Service, which does nature workshops in the park in the summer, has created a Bug Hotel and will soon install it to help kids appreciate insect wildlife. New trees in Elmwood in December? That’s right! City Forester, Doug Still recently planted two more shade trees in the playground area to cool the park during hot months.
Holiday tips to reduce, reuse and recycle
The Office of Sustainability encourages residents to recycle giftwrapping paper, blister packaging, and cardboard boxes. Trees and wreathes will be composted by the RI Resource Recovery Corporation during the 2nd and 3rd weeks of January. Find details about preparing them for pickup on your regular trash days on theCity’s Web site.
Get ready for snow
Snow is sure to come. If you or your tenants park on the street at night, make sure to have an alternate parking space available in case of parking bans.
Keep reading for meeting and event details and to see what else is happening.
Find general information about greening Elmwood, community policing, and city services in the reference guide emailed seasonally.
JANUARY MEETINGS, DEADLINES, and EVENTS
- · Wednesday, January 4 – Meet with PEKA Properties regarding development plans for Lenox and Broad St
- · Thursday, January 5 – Board of License hearing for Club Juan Pablo Duarte
- · Monday, January 9 – Friends of Knight Memorial Library meeting
- · Wednesday, January 11 – Elmwood Ave Business & Community Association meeting
- · Sunday, January 15 – PNPP deadline for applying for free street trees
- · Tuesday, January 17 – City Planning Commission meeting regarding 12 Lenox
- · Wednesday, January 25 – Crime Watch meeting for Elmwood & South Providence
- · January 26 – February 12 – Wilbury Theatre presents Betrayal
- · January 28 & 29 – Undoing Racism Training
- · Saturday, February 4 – Friends of Knight Memorial Library Book Sale
- · Tuesdays & Thursdays, 10:30 to 12:30 – Friends of Knight Book Sale
Wednesday, January 4, 7:00 pm – Meeting with PEKA Properties regarding development plans for Lenox and Broad St
Location: Police Substation, 693 Broad St (at Broad and Moore)
Meet with developers to learn about their development plans for the corner of Lenox and Broad St. The plan includes rezoning the vacant lot at 12 Lenox from residential to commercial. PEKA is proposing bringing in retail businesses to eventually replace one or both existing clubs. (Read more in the introduction above.)
More information, contact Paula, firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday, January 5, 1:00 pm – Board of License hearing for Club Juan Pablo Duarte
Location: Probate Court on 5th floor of City Hall
This is the third hearing for a liquor license for the Club. The last hearing was postponed because of translation difficulties. (Read more in the introduction above.)
More information: contact Ward, email@example.com
Monday, January 9, 6:00 – 7:30 pm – Friends of Knight Memorial Library meeting
Location: Knight Memorial Library Board Room, 275 Elmwood Ave
Friends groups at the nine Providence Community Libraries advocate for library resources. Friends of Knight include book sale, program, and building improvements teams. All are welcome to join as the Friends group develops Super Saturday programming and Mrs. Shaw’s Fund to raise money for books.
Contact: Debbie, firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday, January 11, 9:00 – 10:30 am – Elmwood Ave Business & Community Association meeting
Location: Elmwood Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, 225 Elmwood Ave
Business leaders on Elmwood Ave will be taking next steps to develop a map of Elmwood Ave.
Sunday, January 15 – PNPP deadline for applying for free street trees
Applications for trees from the Providence Neighborhood Partnership Program must be postmarked byJanuary 15. Applicants will receive trees during an April planting.
Learn more and download an application at http://pnpp.org
Tuesday, January 17, 4:45 pm – City Planning Commission meeting regarding 12 Lenox
Location: 444 Westminster St
PEKA Properties is formally applying for a zoning change at 12 Lenox from residential to commercial. (Read more in the introduction above.)
For more information, contact Paula at email@example.com
Wednesday, January 25, 6:00 – 7:30 – Crime Watch meeting for Elmwood & South Providence
Location: 640 Broad St, YMCA for Youth Development Community Room
Meet with District Police Lt Henry Remolina, who reports on incidents since our last meeting. Other speakers often attend to address crime-related and quality of life issues. Crime watch window placards are available at each meeting.
For agenda updates, contact Doug, firstname.lastname@example.org
Note: Crime Watch meetings are generally held on the fourth Wednesday of each month. Crime watch window placards are available at each meeting.
January 26 – February 12, 7:30 – Wilbury Theatre presents Betrayal
Location: Southside Cultural Center at Broad and Elmwood, 393 Broad St
Nobel Laureate Harold Pinter innovatively explores the complexities of love, guilt, and duplicity in this Olivier Award-winning classic.
Read more: http://www.thewilburygroup.org/betrayal.html
January 28 & 29 – Undoing Racism Training
The City’s Equity and Sustainability initiative will offer Undoing Racism training on January 28 and 29th.
Learn more and express your interest in attending by visiting the Office of Sustainability:http://providenceri.com/sustainability/office-of-sustainability-equity
Saturday, February 4, 12 to 4 – Friends of Knight Memorial Library Book Sale
Location: Knight Memorial Library Community Room, 275 Elmwood Ave
This month features the African American experience, history/political commentary, health, mystery and other fiction, 1st editions and author signed books, children’s books.
To help with monthly sales contact: Karen, email@example.com
Tuesdays & Thursdays, 10:30 to 12:30 – Friends of Knight Book Sale
Location: Knight Memorial Library community room, 275 Elmwood Ave.
Browse through 1000s of books, videos, LPs, CDs, DVDs and original art works and prints. Proceeds support library programs and improvements.
To help sort books on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, contact Doug, firstname.lastname@example.org
Bookmark ElmwoodExchange for a summary of current events.